I shared a few blogs ago about the opportunity for our oldest, who has Down syndrome, to move out into his own apartment while participating in a program for living independently. My instant response was “no” and my reason was that he wasn’t ready. But, my spouse, encouraged me to proceed accordingly in an effort for us to gather more information. Then I walked through the process of wondering if my reaction was fear based.
So, I followed my spouse’s request and we made an appointment to tour the facility, ask questions, etc. only to realize that my gut gauge was on high alert. Let me just point out that in the land of adults with disabilities, there are more people than places for them to live. Also, the expense is outrageous. For Bailey to live at this particular place, the monthly amount was going to run us $1800 (rent plus the tuition for the program). Keep in mind the minimal social security he gets and making under $9 an hour for about 20 hours a week.
Brian asked if I was scared or excited. I felt pretty neutral. I was open to the possibility that this might be the right time and place for him to transition. Once we asked questions, I was pretty stoked. We walked over to the apartment building that he would be in and took a tour. The space was airy and spacious. There was a common area for the residents to gather that included a kitchen where cooking classes met. So far, so good. And then we went into the vacant apartment that was roomy. It had its own kitchen, bathroom and plenty of storage. The ideal first apartment. I could see the potential and was already in decorating mode. Then the warning bells started sounding and I thought my head might pop off…..seriously.
First, this studio apartment was in between the main front door and the door entering the common area. The front door was unlocked. All the other apartments were behind the second door which is always locked, plus this apartment is kind of isolated from the rest. Ummmm….hello…….security issue number one. Then there was a private courtyard area that he could access from his back door, but there was also gate access from the parking lot. The gate didn’t have a lock. Red flag number two. At this point, I was firing questions right and left regarding these issues. I was assured they would look into these concerns, but I was already on the train to “NO” town. Plus, I was wondering why no one had these concerns prior to me asking.
We said our goodbyes and told them we would be discussing it further this weekend. Honestly, Brian and I were on the same page. Different reasons, but the same page nonetheless. His was pricing (how much bang for our buck would be getting) and mine was security. We agreed that while this particular unit wasn’t going to work, we would still be open to discussing the possibility if another one located behind the locked door became available. It was an easy decision…..this time.
Here is the deal. This isn’t my first rodeo. I have been riding this bull for 23 years and it hasn’t thrown me off yet. The reality is that no program will be perfect. There are always going to be kinks. Maybe I am too particular, but, honestly, I need to feel secure in my decision. When my gut is screaming at me, I have to honor that. What works for others isn’t always going to work for us. His opportunity will come, but for now, we will wait.